Craft beer is produced in limited quantities with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less to be exact by independent brewers who understand the unique strictures that comprise a craft beer.
Rafael Terrazas, owner of Craft and Social a new pub, is himself like a beer that has gone through a process of maturity to bring him to where he is today. His understanding and appreciation for craft beer evolved over the years, leading him and his partner and brother-in-law Eric Nunez to open the Craft and Social in Downtown, El Paso.
While living in Belgium in 2007, Rafael tried Trappist ales, which are beers brewed by monks in French monasteries. Beers like, Westmalle and Chimay quickly became favorites.
The fermentation process had begun and the ideas for what is now Craft and Social were taking shape.
In 2009, Rafael eventually found himself working for Dell, in New York after a successful internship program lead to a permanent position. “While I was in New York, my friend Beto, crashed on my couch for three months.” Beto, is Beto Longoria, who later became co-owner of the Hoppy Monk. “Beto was also in Europe for a while himself and also loved craft beers. We used to consistently go to a craft beer bar in New York, called Gingerman. We used to ask for the ‘Hoppiest’ beer on tap.”
“After a few years, I came back home to El Paso to visit and tried buying a beer in a corner store and found there was not even one drinkable beer,” said, Rafael. “I had to buy some good beer from a friend to take to a cousin’s party. It was then I decided to start a brewery.”
Alas, a brewery was not in the cards for Rafael. After substantial research, Rafael learned it takes a minimum of 500K investment and with too many variables-another path had to be considered. “I wanted a business to launch sooner than later, so with an investment and partnership from my brother-in-law, Eric, we landed on Craft and Social,” said Rafael.
“Sunset heights didn’t work out but we were pointed in downtown’s direction by an architect we knew,” explains Rafael. “We explored Mesa street but downtown isn’t over saturated with corporate restaurants and you can’t beat looking out and seeing an 8 story building. You feel like you’re in a bigger city and the best areas in other cities are in their downtown.”
Rafael explains his intentions with the location, “We want to try and help downtown become one of the best parts of the city once again. I’m glad we ended up here, I have always made an effort to throw parties in downtown before. It really does offer more than just rectangular shopping centers.”
“Dell was supportive in helping me move back to El Paso and have enabled me to work remotely so I can pursue this opportunity,” said Rafael.
The Craft and Social offers a minimalistic but art driven approach to the aesthetics. All of the art on the walls as well as the furniture were created or hand-crafted by artist, Michelle Arnold. It is rustic, comfortable and lends to a visually appealing yet stark space that generously allows for the wall of beers on tap to remain the visual highlight of the pub.
A row of carefully considered beers preen from behind the bar counter waiting to cross the palate. Over 20 beers are available and there is a purposeful emphasis on the beers on tap. “I personally prefer light and wheat beers but we have more dark beers right now,” said Rafael. “In the winter time the style will change as they will every season. When the weather warms we will probably have a lighter, crisper selection but beer style differs with the moment. We try to have a little of everything though, like fruit, cider and sweet beers for example.”
Some of the beer selections Craft and Social offer are, La Chouffe, Tripel Karmeliet, Old Chub Nitro and Founders Centennial IPA. With wine offerings as well, Craft and Social take the “Quality over Quantity” approach. “We offer bottles for sale and even 32 and 64 ounce growlers for beer drinkers,” said Rafael.
“Our draft system is one of the best in the city, which we aren’t ashamed to say we modeled after the Hoppy Monk. Each tap is individually regulated; normally there is one regulator for every four taps,” explains Rafael. What this means is a more efficient draft system that results in a much better “pour.”
Craft and Social plans on encouraging “Happy Hour” downtown by opening at 4pm. “When the kitchen opens we will open by 11am. In other cities there are plenty of day-drinkers and its normal. We want to encourage interaction, while still keeping an upbeat energy,” said Rafael.
Craft and Social has their Grand Opening this Saturday, January 18, from 5pm to close. Craft and Social will also be open Sundays.
Located on 305 East Franklin Avenue next to restaurant Pot Au Feu.
For more information visit www.craftandsocial.com or call 915-203-4353